Arjun tells EC: Quota pc not fixed
HRD Minister has denied the Election Commission's charge that he violated the model code of conduct for elections.india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 09:23 IST
Striking adefiant note, HRD Minister Arjun Singh has denied the Election Commission's charge that he violated the model code of conduct for elections by announcing the plan for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in centrally funded higher-education institutes.
He said the talk of another Mandal-type reservation — first reported in the Hindustan Times — was not new. Also, the government had not decided on the percentage of reservation. He said the draft bill propos ing the quota had been approved by the HRD Ministry following an amendment to the Constitution.
On Saturday, the EC had sent a notice to the Cabinet Secretariat, seeking an explanation for the quota announcement. The EC termed the announcement a breach of the model code of conduct as it gave concessions to certain sections of the electorate in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Pondicherry.
In his reply, Singh said, “There was no announcement of any concession, much less any other breach of the model code of conduct. There is no basis even for a prima facie view to that effect.” The minister said the EC’s notice, on the basis of media reports, was “unfortunate”.
Taking a dig at the commission, he said, “What’s more, it has also been concluded that it prima facie violates the model code of conduct without mentioning which provision of the model code of conduct the commission had in view.” Quoting two media reports in his defence, the minister said that in a reply to a specific question he had said the decision would be taken and announced only after elections to five state assemblies were over.